The greatest thing of successful events is making the best of their years of history without ever being affected by them. Giro del Trentino Melinda certainly went a long way from the one-day first edition run in Trento in 1963, won by Enzo Moser, up to the last two years of Australian domination, with Cadel Evans (2014) and Richie Porte (2015) going back to back. And still, the GS Alto Garda’s race presents an even fresher face at the official presentation of its 40th edition, held in Trento, at the Cassa Centrale delle Casse Rurali Trentine, on Tuesday March 29th.
The 40th Giro del Trentino Melinda will be the first without Nerino Ioppi, the long-time secretary of GS Alto Garda, and among the founders of the race along with his wife, Lina, and Guido Amistadi, and who was awarded the “Ciclismo Vita Mia Award” in memoriam on the day. Even after that blow, Giro del Trentino Melinda did not stop, but accelerated: a new image, a new website (live from today, www.girodeltrentino.com) and a new management to revitalize a winning formula: “A mix of passion for cycling and the mountains that light it up, an amazing territory like Trentino, organizational quality and deep cooperation at every level,” recalled GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini.
Giro del Trentino Melinda becomes even more international in 2016, as no less than 18 team from four different Continents will reach Trentino from April 19th to 22nd, and gets strenghtened by the arrival of new strategic partners: after joining forces with the Melinda Consortium from the 2015 edition, and along with the support by the Province of Trento, several important local organizaton like Casse Rurali Trentine, Phoenix Informatica Bancaria, Coop Trentino, Monti Trentini will run along Giro del Trentino Melinda, as well as established technical companies like Selle Italia and Giessegi.
After Giro del Trentino Melinda will visit Austria for the eighth time in its history, cycling might put together Trentino, Alto Adige and Tirol on a permanent base in a foreseeable future. The idea was launched by Trentino’s Sports Assessor Tiziano Mellarini: “To seal our territories’ vicinity and cooperation, we could create a new Euregio Tour, that should follow the steps of Giro del Trentino Melinda to grow even bigger and create greater opportunities for everybody involved.” And President Santini did not back down: “We are thinking about it”.
According to tradition, Giro del Trentino Melinda will start on Tuesday April 19th with the “Garda Trentino Opening”, a team time trial from Riva del Garda to Torbole. It will be a 12,1 km speed effort, with a few technical corner to handle carefully before relaunching the pace.
Under the coordination of local tourism office Ingarda, the #GdTM finalized a multi-year deal with the Garda Trentino municipalities. In fact, on Wednesday April 20th, the race will restart from Arco to move across the border to Austria after three years, with an unseen finish in Anras, Tirol, after 220 km, the last four of which on a demanding uphill: for the Austrian fans, it will be a tasty preview to the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck. The stage also remarks the very valuable cooperation between Giro del Trentino Melinda and Osttirol.
On Thursday April 21st, Sillian will open the high-mountain 3rd stage of Giro del Trentino Melinda, finishing in Mezzolombardo after 204,5 km and two long and tough climbs: Nova Ponente and, above all, Fai della Paganella, peaking with about 15 km to go: it will be a stage for strong climbers with sound descending skills.
Completing the programme will be the roads of the former Trofeo Melinda, that once again will proclaim the winner in this 40th edition with the 160,9 km 4th stage from Malè to Cles. Compared to the classic circuit, providing very few breathers to the riders, the addition of a new climb could really make a big difference in the race’s economy. Its’ the Forcella di Brez, a 6 km ascent almost constantly beyond the 9% gradient, with peaks up to 20%. It will be a very severe test, and one that will keep everybody breathless until the final kilometers of the Giro del Trentino Melinda.
THE TOP RIDERS AT THE START
Eighteen teams will take part in the 40th Giro del Trentino Melinda: three World Tour (Ag2R-La Mondiale, Astana and Team Sky), eight Pro Continental (Androni-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF, Bora-Argon 18, Caja Rural Seguros RGA, Drapac, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Nippo-Fantini, Southeast-Venezuela), five Continental (SkyDive Dubai, Tirol, Amore&Vita-SMP, Norda-MG KVis and D’Amico-Bottecchia) and two national teams, Italy and Brazil.
He already won it twice, he would not regret making it three: Vincenzo Nibali will arguably be the top favorite of the 40th Giro del Trentino Melinda. The 31-year-old from Sicily will have the opportunity to tie Damiano Cunego for the most overall wins in Trentino, but there’s more than that. As a matter of fact, every of Vincenzo Nibali’s grand tour successes have been preceded by a title won in Trentino – either at Giro del Trentino (2013) or Trofeo Melinda (2009 and 2014, the latter valid as Italian National Championship): in what he hopes to be a rebound year, Nibali’s fate could pass by Trentino again.
But the Astana’s Italian won’t be the only big name going for the title. In Trentino, Nibali will meet who is poised to be his greatest rival for the Giro d’Italia: his former teammate Mikel Landa, third at the Corsa Rosa last year and second at Giro del Trentino Melinda. Now sporting the Team Sky colors, the Spaniard is looking the claim the highest step of the podium.
Nor can the AG2R-La Mondiale leaders be overlooked: Domenico Pozzovivo already has a #GdTM trophy on his shelf, and always gives his best on the Trentino climbs, and will be joined by Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet, who once again chose to put Trentino in his programme to later aim for Liege.
The strong field of outsiders features last year’s green jersey Rodolfo Torres, Stefano Pirazzi, Coppi e Bartali winner Sergey Firsanov, three-time overall winner Damiano Cunego, Brit Hugh Carthy and Aussie Brendan Canty.
Worth mentioning are also two absolute novelties: the debut of a team from the Arab Emirates, Skydive Dubai, guided by Italian Sports Director Alberto Volpi and led by Ivan Santaromita, who in 2013 won a Giro del Trentino stage and the Tricolore jersey at Trofeo Melinda.
Also up for a long journey is the Brazilian National Team, eager to test itself in Trentino in the view of the Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Games: no overall ambitions, but plenty of determination to shine and surprise.
#GDTM LIVE ON TV
2016 brings more good news for the cycling fans. Thanks to the support of Lega del Ciclismo Professionistico, guided by President Enzo Ghigo, the Giro del Trentino Melinda will be covered live on TV. The race will be aired live for 1.30 hour a day on Italian Raisport and eight more broadcasters (Eleven Sports, Bike Channel UK, TV2, Fox Sports, L’Equipe 21, ESPN, Laola and EBU) that will bring the Giro del Trentino Melinda action all over the World.
Photo Credits: Daniele Mosna